3 Ways to Stay Engaged

I saw this here and wanted it on my blog.  What would you add to Maria Lloyd’s list?

Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to work a full-time job and raise a family- especially as a single parent. Thanks to technology, we’re plugged into work even when we’re at home. It’s imperative to balance your life in a way that is rewarding for you and your children. Spending quality time with your children is imperative for your role as a parent and also for their growth as a child. Although I do not have children of my own, I am someone’s child, so I can relate to the need for attention from parents. Below are 3 ways you, a working single parent, can stay engaged in your child’s life:

1. Eat with them.

You have to eat. Instead of eating breakfast before your child wakes up or putting your child to bed and having dinner alone, eat with them. Children have a wealth of information to share with you about their day. Listen to them very closely. There may be some negative, external influences that you may need to remove them from.Time allotted: 30-45 minutes

2. Read with them.

Share your favorite bedtime story with your child. It is a memory that you and him/her can cherish together for the rest of your lives. It can also become a tradition in your family, so that when your child has his/her own children, they will read the same story and share the same appreciate for it with their own family. Time allotted: 20-30 minutes

3. Give them “homework” in your absence

I strongly encourage you to consider another career if spending face-to-face time with your child is impossible; however, if you’re temporarily unable to spend face-to-face time with your children due to a short-term assignment at work, give them “homework” in your absence. It can be as simple as having them journal their day or as complex as writing a book report. Whichever assignment you give them, make sure you actively check it and leave them feedback on their work. This “homework” helps them to remember that although you’re not physically in their presence, you’re still actively involved in their life. Time allotted: 10-20 minutes (checking the assignment and providing feedback)

Open Letter We All Need to Consider

This is a letter from Maria Lloyd to Judge Marvin Aspen who sentenced her father to 15 life sentences for her father’s first nonviolent offense.  This matter, matters like them, and all the “legal” issues related therein, are becoming matters of faith for me.  I’d love to know what you think.  I’d love, simply, to have you thinking of this as I am.

Dear Judge Marvin E. Aspen:

It took me some time to address you because I didn’t know you were the source of my anger until recently. In case you care to know who I am, I’m Maria Lloyd- the daughter of Mario Lloyd, the non-violent, first-time offender from Chicago. You sentenced him to 15 life sentences without parole on May 11, 1989. He has been incarcerated since I was the age of two. In addition to sending my father to prison, you also sentenced my grandmother, my aunt, and my uncle.  You basically incarcerated my entire family.

I’m not one to make excuses for anyone’s poor decisions, including those of my own family. They broke the law, so they deserved punishment. I get it.  I also get the point you were proving in punishing them: Drug trafficking is not tolerated in the state of Illinois. It’s quite obvious you were taking a very personal stand against the War on Drugs. Well, as you can imagine, I have too, but I’m sure our views differ.

Even if one argues that my family deserved to go to prison for the distribution of drugs, does my father deserve to be incarcerated for life? Do you really think he deserves to die in prison? My four siblings and I have literally faced hell because of our father’s incarceration. I truly believe my eldest brother, who is now deceased, wouldn’t have diedat the hands of violence if my father wasn’t incarcerated.

You have no idea how much embarrassment, confusion, and heartache a child faces when handed an Emergency Contact Form requesting contact information for mom and dad. For years, I’d write my father’s name and ask my mom if I could write the prison’s information on the lines requesting his address and phone number. “Daddy-Daughter” socials were the worst. Instead of enjoying the festivities, I would stay home in shame because of my father’s incarceration. I’m still haunted by those experiences to this very day, and I have yet to recover emotionally.

I can’t believe the word “Honorable” is placed before your name and title. What’s honorable about your work? Nothing. Because of you, I haven’t recited the Pledge of Allegiance in years. Liberty and justice aren’t for “all”, it’s reserved exclusively for the wealthy which are generally of European descent.

I know my dad deserved to be punished for his crimes- I accept that.  But, for a non-violent, first time offense, 15 life sentences is far too harsh.  By giving a life sentence to my father, you also sentenced me to a lifetime of misery that comes from losing the man I’ve loved since birth.   My father has spent 23 years of my life in prison.  Now, I pray that men like you will never be allowed to ruin a family again. To be honest, I don’t wish hardship upon you but I definitely don’t wish you well.

Sincerely,

Maria Lloyd

I found the letter here.